Quotes from Letters

“I just wanted to tell you that I received the books that you sent me. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity. You have indeed put some sunshine in my rather drab life imprisoned as I am here on Death Row. . . There will be several other inmates here on Death Row that will be very glad to get a chance to read something new that they have an interest in.”   –Nashville TN

“I just wanted to write and say thank you for the book that I just received in the mail! “Legal Writing” is just the book I need. While I was in college I took the basics of political science/law/government, but I didn’t learn everything that I need to know. This book is a huge help.  Thank you again for everything you do for those of us here in their concentration camps.” –Chillicothe, OH


“I just received the dictionary I requested and “classic” Hamlet you guys sent. Thanks for always being there 2 assist with the growth of my continued consciousness. Please never feel unappreciated in the job you do for those like myself. Yes, I was a hard headed child when I left the “free” world, but a child nonetheless, so thank you for equipping me with the knowledge 2 grow as a man.”  –Cumberland, MD

“Thank you so much for the dictionary and Bible. I especially like the Bible. It is the most explanatory Bible I’ve ever had . . . I probably already told you but my 91-year-old grandma is taking care of my mother, her daughter is 72 and they have had strokes last year. My mother had one the worst. She had one one day and my grandma had one the next day. My mother has diabetes, dementia, and psychosis. I really need to learn all I can so I can be of more help to my grandmother and mother. My grandmother has dementia too.” –Saluda, VA

“I am in prison for life and it really is good to have places that will help people like me. Thank you a lot for your help.” –Oakwood, VA

“First of all, thank you for providing books directly to prisoners free of charge. Yours is a great service, especially for those whose library’s collection is meager, outdated, or otherwise inadequate and who simply do not have the funds to buy books out of their own pockets.” –Memphis, TN

“This letter is to thank you for the book I received from you entitled “Team of Rivals.” About two years ago I began studying American history, and I have already covered from the Revolution through the Mexican American war. . . . You had no way of knowing this, but the book fits in perfectly with my current period of study. You folks are the BEST!”  –Lisbon, OH

“Thanks for forwarding me the murder mystery book. However I was unable to receive it because there was no enclosed invoice slip. I disputed this issue with the mailroom personnel and subsequently was momentarily placed in confinement over it . . . Just an example of the lifestyle I am (as well as everyone else) must confront daily.” –-St. Clairsville, OH

“I received the Tom Clancey book that you sent to me and I want to take this time to thank you so very much for sending it to me. I really love these types of books with the intrigue and the action and so forth . . .As before, when I am finished with this book, I will donate it to the compound library where everyone here will have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I do.”  –Clifton, TN

“If possible can you please send me a book to read? I would really like to read about women in the old west and how they helped to make this country. Historical fiction would also be great or anything about Martha Washington or any of the queers of England would be great.” –Wartburg, TN

“You all are helping inmates out so much. Reading will pass time when a person is stressed out and missing their families. Thank you again.”

“I’ve received books in the past from your organization. Thank you so much. Last year I wrote to you about a situation in prison where I was attacked by cellmate, stabbed in head, and suffered a broken leg. You sent me a book from Aspen publishers titled “Civil Procedure” by Joseph W. Glannon. That book was a great help to me. I’ve completed the civil claim, and having it reviewed by an attorney for mistakes.” –Oakwood, VA

“Thank you for your time. Not many people would take the time to make sure someone in prison had a book to read. I was always a big fan of R.I.F. (Reading Is Fundamental) in the ‘70s when I was in school. So that’s kinda what you guys remind me of.” –Whiteville, TN

“Thank you so much for my copy of Vampyrrhic! I loved it! As I have said before not many people want to fool with us old convicts”. –Whiteville, TN

“I recently heard about your books for prisoners project. I got excited because reading is my favorite thing to do. We have a small library here, but all they have is fiction. I am a bigger fan of non-fiction, though. I love learning new stuff because I want to get out better and smarter than I came in. They don’t have any classes here so I have to rely on books and magazines from the “outside.””  — Nashville, TN

“Thank you for the recent gift (“Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen). I’ve enjoyed all of the Austen novels I’ve read. In fact, I’ve enjoyed all the classical literature you have sent me, including “Emma”!” –Lisbon, OH

* I am a mother of 3 and I need the following: Parenting, Parents, Child, Family Fun, Family Circle, Working Mother, etc. in magazines. Old is fine . . . Potty Training—anything for 2-5 years old—Help! . . . (Virginia)

* I stayed up and read the book all night. I really did enjoy the book and I thank you again. I love reading . . . I have one more request, for a Scrabble dictionary that would stop a lot of fighting here, when they are playing the game. (West Virginia)

* Thank you for your concern for those of us on the other side of the wall. (Ohio)

* Since I am in a 9×12 cell 24/7 with no TV and walkmen, I have very little to do but read . . . .I sleep eighteen to twenty hours a day, give or take a few. And I have nine years to go. So, I want to learn a few things. (Virginia)

* I received your book, To Kill a Mockingbird, one week ago today. It was an excellent book, one I had never read before. I was unaware of all the awards it had won, which made the reading all the more enjoyable. I have passed the book along to another already, and look to continue so until I donate it to our library. (Ohio)

* I was quite surprised, and very pleased, to hear back from you so quickly . . . I have passed the first book I received on to two others so far, and plan to do so until the cover falls off! (The library here can fix it up when I donate it.) I am thrilled to hear that you are hoping to start-up a pen-pal program!! As a child growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland, our neighbors were of West Virginia descent. The best neighbors I have ever had! (Ohio)

* I was glad to learn that a program like yours has finally taken root in West Virginia. There is a newspaper article posted here in the library . . . You’re doing a good thing! (West Virginia)

* As a inmate doing time I pass my time by reading because it keeps me out of trouble and it opens my mind to new things. When I get into a good book I am transported away from this place to the places in the books. I read about 2 to 3 books a week. (West Virginia)

* I was advised to contact you regarding receipt of “Puzzle Books.” . . . I have been confined for more than 35 years and this is the first such organization that I have known, or heard of, that provides any type of books to inmates. Most of my family members have passed away during my confinement. (Virginia)

* I would love 2 receive some of your free books. My family has little money so I cant afford books 2 read. I love reading because it takes your mind from being locked up, and it’s fundamental. (Virginia)

* First, thank you for all that you do to help and reach a lot of people with your kindness and good will. May God keep always blessing you . . . I am 41 years old and I am trying to get my GED since I never went to school. I want to better myself and be a more prepared person. I think that never is too late. (Pennsylvania)

* I would like to receive a book with poems in them. Romantic poems, Friendly poems, Spiritual poems. POEMS ONLY BOOK! At least 200 or 300 or more. (Virginia)

* I do not have any funds (as you notice with the institution providing the postage fee on the outer envelope.) And I was just wondering just what type of books you could offer for free, because more than anything at the moment—I very much need a Dictionary. I enjoy writing but not very good at spelling. (Maryland)

* I love to read but due to a lack of finances, I can not order books from a publishing house. I greatly admire James Herriot and I have a hard time finding his work. (Maryland)